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10532Re: [XTalk] Excavating GThomas--Part I

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  • Frank McCoy
    Jul 16 12:00 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      --- goranson@... wrote:
      > Perhaps you would be interested in an article in the
      > latest Vigiliae
      > Christianae which presents several possible schemes
      > for the growth of
      > Gospel of Thomas.
      >

      Dear Stephen Goranson:

      Thank you! This is a most informative article.

      It has helped me to develop yet another possible early
      version of GTh, a Proto-Thomas text, which is outlined
      below.

      DEFINITIONS

      There are certain terms used in this post that should
      be defined for purposes of clarity.

      1. Unit = a numbered division of GTh, of which there
      are 114. It is assumed that this strictly modern
      numbering system accurately reflects the individual
      units of GTh as conceived by its author(s).

      2. Saying Unit = a unit in which only Jesus speaks

      3. Dialogue Unit = a unit in which, besides Jesus, one
      or more other people also speak.

      4. Section = a sequence of an odd number of units: (a)
      that is symmetrical, so that the two end units of a
      sequence will always be of the same type and (b) in
      which the two end units belong to a different type of
      unit than the center unit (i.e., if the two end units
      are saying units, then the center unit is a dialogue
      unit, and if the two end units are dialogue units,
      then
      the center unit is a saying unit).

      5. Special Unit = a unit that is one of the end or
      center units of a section

      A PROPOSAL

      It is proposed that there was an earlier version of
      GTh. a Proto-Thomas, consisting of these three
      sections:

      Section 1 GTh 2-10

      Section 2 GTh 31-48 and 61-65 and 89-90.

      Section 3 GTh 91-99

      REASONS FOR THINKING THIS LIKELY WAS A REAL DOCUMENT

      There are two basic reasons for thinking that the
      postulated Proto-Thomas likely was a real document.
      The first basic reason is that it appears to have
      internal organization. The second basic reason is
      that, it appears, the units in it are, on the average,
      of earlier origin than the rest of the units in
      GTh--which is what we would expect it it consists of
      the part of GTh first written down.

      INTERNAL ORGANIZATION--PART I

      Where s = saying unit and d = dialogue unit and a
      capitalized s (i.e. S) or a capitalized d (i.e., D) =
      a special unit, this is how each of the three
      proposed sections looks:

      1. 2-10: SsssDsssS

      2. 31-48, 61-65, 89-90:
      SsssssdsssssDsssssdsssssS

      3. 91-99: DsssSsssD

      Note that, if the center special unit be treated as a
      mirror plane, then each of these three sections
      displays mirror symmetry.

      Note, too, that each section consists of a square
      number of units. Thus, sections 1 and 3 each consist
      of 9 units--and 3x3 = 9. Again, section 2 consists of
      25 units--and 5x5 = 25.

      Indeed, this does not appear to be coincidence: for
      each of the 3x3 sections consists of three groups,
      with each of the three groups consisting of three
      units. So, in section 1, there are two sss groups and
      the remainding units (2S and 1D) constitute a third
      group of three units. Again, in section 3, there are
      two sss groups and the remaining units (2D and 1S)
      constitute a third group of three units.

      Further, section 2, the 5x5 section, consists of five
      groups, with each of the five groups consisting of
      five units. So, it contains four sssss groups and the
      remaining units (2S, 2d, and 1D) constitute a fifth
      group of five units.

      Note that, while section one is symmetrical, and while
      section three is symmetrical, and while both are of
      the same length, they are, as respects their special
      units, in an oppositional type of relationship:
      1. SsssDsssS
      3. DsssSsssD

      In any event, the highly organized mirror symmetrical
      arrangement to each of the three sections of the
      proposed Proto-Thomas is evidence which supports
      the hypothesis that this proposed document really did
      exist.

      INTERNAL ORGANIZATION--PART II

      There is evidence of a symmetrical relationship
      between the beginning SsssD
      sequence of the proposed Proto-Thomas (i.e., GTh 2-6)
      and the ending SsssD
      sequence of it (i.e., GTh 95-99).

      GTh 2-6 reads, "2. Jesus said, "Let him who seeks
      continue seeking until he finds. When he finds he
      will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he
      will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."
      3. Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you,
      'See, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of
      the sky will precede you. If they say to you,
      'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you.
      Rather the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside
      of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you
      will become known, and you will realize that is is you
      who are the sons of the living Father. But if you
      will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it
      is you who are that poverty." 4.Jesus said, "The man
      old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child
      seven days old about the place of life, and he will
      live. For many who are first will become last, and
      they will become one and the same." 5.Jesus said,
      "Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is
      hidden from you will become plain to you. For there
      is nothing hidden which will not become manifest." 6.
      "His disciples questioned Him and said to Him, 'Do You
      want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give
      alms? What diet shall we observe?' Jesus
      said, 'Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate,
      for all things are plain in the sight of heaven. For
      nothing hidden will not become manifest, and nothing
      covered will remain without being uncovered.'"

      GTh 95-99 reads, "95. [Jesus said,] "If you have
      money, do not lend it at interest, but give [it] to
      one from whom you will not get it back." 96. Jesus
      [said], "The Kingdom of the Father is like a certain
      woman. She took a little leaven, [concealed] it in
      some dough, and made it into large loaves. Let him
      who has ears hear." 97. Jesus said, "The kingdom of
      the [Father] is like a certain woman who was
      carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking
      [on] a road, still some distance from home, the handle
      of the jar broke and the meal emptied out behind her
      on the road. She did not ralize it; she had noticed
      no accident. When she reached her house, she set the
      jar down and found it empty," 98. Jesus said, "The
      Kingdom of the Father is like a certain man who wanted
      to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his
      sword and stuck it into the wall in order to find out
      whether his hand could carry through. Then he slew the
      powerful man." 99. The disciples said to Him, "Your
      brothers and your mother are standing outside." He
      said to them, "These here who do the will of my Father
      are My brothers and My mother. It is they who will
      enter the Kingdom of My Father."

      Note that 5 and 95 are clearly related: for both
      include the topic of alms-giving. Note, too, that we
      do not have the out-right rejection of alms-giving
      that is reflected in GTh 14--which is one of the units
      belonging to the proposed later additions to the
      proposed Proto-Thomas.

      Note that 96-99 regard the Kingdom: with 96-98 being
      three parables of the Kingdom and 99 being an
      admonition about the type of people who will
      enter the Kingdom. Note, too, that 99, where the
      brothers of Jesus are treated harshly, strongly
      contrasts with the outright adulation of James the
      Just (a brother of Jesus) in GTh 12--which is one of
      the units belonging to the proposed later additions to
      the proposed Proto-Thomas.

      In this regard, it is possible that 2-5 also regard
      the Kingdom. This is explicitly the case for 3, which
      describes how the Kingdom is both outside of you and
      inside of you. In 2, what is to be sought and found
      might be the Kingdom. In 4, the place of life might
      be the Kingdom as something outside you. In 5, the
      hidden that will become plain might be the Kingdom as
      something hid inside of you.

      To conclude, 2-6, the beginning to the proposed
      Proto-Thomas, might have a relationship to 95-99, the
      ending to the proposed Proto-Thomas: with 6 relating
      to 95 because both mention alms-giving and with 2-5
      relating to 96-99 because these units might all regard
      the Kingdom. With the units mentioning alms-giving
      designated A and the other units designated B, this
      is the relationship: BBBBA ABBBB

      Such a possible mirror symmetrical relationship
      between the beginning and the ending of the proposed
      Proto-Thomas increases the likelihood that it is
      a real document.

      INTERNAL ORGANIZATION--PART III

      After deleting the above discussed 2-6 and 95-99, the
      remaining units of the proposed Proto-Thomas (i.e.,
      7-10, 31-48, 61-65, and 89-94) have this arrangement:
      sssSSsssssdsssssDsssssdsssssSDsss.

      Let us look at the three S units in this sequence.
      The first is 10, "Jesus said, 'I have cast fire upon
      the earth, and see, I am guarding it until it
      blazes.'" The second is 31, "Jesus said, "No prophet
      is accepted in his own village; no physician heals
      those who know him.'" The third is 90, "Jesus
      said, 'Come unto me, for My yoke is easy and My
      lordship mild, and you will find repose for
      yourselves.'"

      All three of the S units appear to regard Jesus. This
      is clearly the case for 10 and 90. This is probably
      the case for 31. So, in Mark 6:4, Jesus applies this
      saying to himself. Again, in John 4:44, it is assumed
      that this saying applies to Jesus.

      This is remarkable, for, of the 26 s units, only 5
      (roughly, 20%) appear to regard Jesus, i.e., 38, 44
      (if the Son be understood to be Jesus), 62, 65 (if the
      son of the vineyard owner be understood to be Jesus),
      and 92.

      This suggests that it is no accident that the 3 S
      units in the postulated Proto-Thomas in the zone from
      7 to 94 all appear to regard Jesus. As a result, this
      is evidence which supports the hypothesis that the
      postulated Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      Again, let us look at the four dialogue (i.e., d and
      D) units. The first is 37, "His disciples said,
      'When will you become revealed to us and
      when shall we see You?' Jesus said, 'When you disrobe
      without being ashamed and take up your garments and
      place them under your feet like little children and
      tread on them, then [will you see] the Son of the
      Living One and you will not be afraid.'" The second
      is 43, "His disciples said to him, 'Who are You, that
      You should say these things to us?' 'You do not
      realize who I am from what I say to you, but you have
      become like the Jews, for they (either) love the tree
      and hate its fruit (or) love the fruit and hate the
      tree.'" The third is 61, "Jesus said, 'Two will rest
      on a bed: the one will die and the other will live.'
      Salome said, 'Who are You, man, that You, as
      though from the One, have come up on my couch and
      eaten from my table?' Jesus said to her, 'I am He who
      exists from the Undivided. I was given some of the
      things of my Father.' 'I am your disciple.'
      'Therefore I say, if he is <undivided>, he will be
      filled with light, but if he is divided, he will be
      filled with darkness.'" The fourth is 91, "They
      said to Him, 'Tell us who You are so that we may
      believe in You.' He said to them, 'You read the
      face of the sky and of the earth, but you have not
      recognized the one who (or: that which) is before you,
      and you do not know how to read this moment.'"

      As can be seen, each of these discourse units contains
      a request to Jesus, by one or more of his disciples,
      for him to provide knowledge regarding himself.

      This is remarkable, for none of the other 20 discourse
      units in GTh contain a request to Jesus, by one or
      more of his disciples, for him to provide knowledge
      regarding himself.

      This suggests that it is no accident that the four
      discourse units in the postulated Proto-Thomas in the
      zone from 7 to 94 all regard a request to Jesus, by
      one or more of his disciples, for him to provide
      knowledge about himself. As a result, this is
      evidence which supports the hypothesis that the
      postulated Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      EVIDENCE OF EARLY ORIGIN: PART I

      If the postulated Proto-Thomas is real, then, as it is
      postulated to be the early version of GTh, there
      should be evidence that its units, on the average, are
      earlier than the units in the proposed later
      additions. (Note: these proposed later additions are:
      Introduction-1, 11-30, 49-60, 66-88, and 100-114).

      Indeed, such is the case.

      For example, let us take the Jesus Seminar's grading
      of the sayings in GTh as recorded in their The Five
      Gospels--where grades range from black (almost
      certainly not genuine) to red (almost certainly
      genuine).

      It will be assumed that sayings of Jesus they
      designate as wholly black (to be referred to as B
      sayings) will, on average, be later in origin than
      sayings they designate to be wholly or in part either
      pink or red (to be referred to as P sayings).

      Of the 43 units in the proposed Proto-Thomas, there
      are 26 that contain P sayings (2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 31, 32,
      33, 35, 36, 39, 41, 45, 47, 62, 63, 64, 65 89, 92,
      94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99) and 6 that contain B sayings
      (7, 37, 38, 43, 44, 90)

      Conversely, of the 71 units in the proposed later
      additions to Proto-Thomas, there are 47 that contain B
      sayings (1, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 27,
      28, 29, 30, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 60, 66,
      67, 69, 70, 71, 73, 74, 75, 77, 80, 83, 84, 85, 87,
      88, 101, 102, 104, 105, 108, 110, 111, 112, 114) and
      10 that contain P sayings (14, 20, 26, 54, 69, 76, 86,
      100, 109, 113).

      So, this does suggest that, on the average, the
      sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed
      Proto-Thomas are significantly earlier in origin than
      the
      sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed later
      additions to Proto-Thomas--just as one would expect if
      Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      EVIDENCE OF EARLY ORIGIN: PART II

      In "The Rhetoric of Marginality: Apocalypticism,
      Gnosticism, and Sayings Gospels" (Harvard Theological
      Review, 88:4, 1995), Bill Arnal postulates the
      existence of two stratum in GTh. The earlier (see p.
      478) is "the sapiential stratum" and it includes GTh
      3. 5. 6. 9. 14. 16. 20. 26. 31, 32, 34-36, 42, 45,
      47, 54, 55, 57, 63-65, 71, 74, 76, 89, 95-98, 107,
      109, and 110. The later (see p.479) is "the
      gnostic-leaning stratum" and it includes Gth 11, 13,
      15, 18, 21-22, 27-28, 49-50, 51, 60, 61, 83, 84, 101,
      105, 108, 11, and 114.

      In the proposed Proto-Thomas, the proposed earlier
      Sapiential sayings are more highly represented than
      the proposed later Gnostic-leaning sayings: with 20
      Sapiential sayings (3, 5, 6, 9, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36,
      42, 45, 47, 63, 64, 65, 89, 95, 96, 97, 98) and one
      Gnostic-leaning saying (61).

      Conversely, in the proposed later additions to
      Proto-Thomas, the proposed later Gnostic-leaning
      sayings are more highly represented than the proposed
      earlier Sapiential sayings: with 19 Gnostic-leaning
      sayings (11, 13, 15, 18, 21, 22, 27, 28, 49, 50, 51,
      60, 83, 84, 101, 105, 108, 111, 114) and 13 Sapiential
      sayings (14, 16, 20, 26, 54, 55, 57, 76, 85, 86, 107,
      109, 110).

      Again, this is an indication that, on the average, the
      sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed
      Proto-Thomas are of significantly earlier origin than
      the sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed later
      additions to this Proto-Thomas--just as one would
      expect if Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      EVIDENCE OF EARLY ORIGIN: PART III

      In "The Original Gospel of Thomas" (Vigiliae
      Christianae, LVI: 2, 2002, pp. 167-199), A. D.
      DeConick postulates that there was an early edition of
      GTh he calls the kernel gospel.

      Of the 114 units in GTh, he suggests that 60 were
      wholly present in the postulated kernel gospel. Of
      these 60, 34 are present in the postulated
      Proto-Thomas (2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36,
      39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 62, 63, 65, 89,
      90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99) and 26 are not
      (15, 17, 20, 25, 26, 30, 54, 55, 57, 58, 66, 71, 72,
      73, 74, 76, 78, 79, 81, 82, 86, 102, 103, 104, 107,
      109).

      Of the 114 units in GTh, he suggests that 16 were
      partially present in the postulated kernel gospel. Of
      these 16, five are present in the postulated
      Proto-Thomas (4, 6, 38, 61, 64) and 11 are not (11,
      14, 16, 21, 23, 24, 60, 68, 69, 100, 111).

      Of the 114 units in GTh, he suggests that 38 were
      completely absent from the postulated kernel gospel.
      Of these 38, four are in the postulated Proto-Thomas
      (3, 7, 37, 43) and 34 are not (1, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22,
      27, 28, 29, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 59, 67, 70, 75,
      77, 80, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 101, 105, 106, 108, 110,
      112, 113, 114).

      The evidence he presents for the existence of the
      postulated kernel gospel is quite weak. In
      particular, he fails to demonstrate that this kernel
      gospel has any internal organization to it.

      Still, I think it likely that the units in his
      proposed kernel gospel are, on the average, of earlier
      origin than the other units in GTh,

      For example, he (p. 198) states, "Second, just over
      fifty percent of the sayings in the kernel gospel are
      paralleled in Q. Not even one saying with a Q
      parallel, however, can be found in the later layers.
      This also cannot be a coincidence. It suggests to me
      that the sayings in the kernel gospel of Thomas are
      some of the oldest witnesses to the Jesus traditions.
      Additionally, my initial analysis of the kernel gospel
      seems to indicate that neither Q nor the kernel Thomas
      were literarily dependent upon the other."

      Assuming that, *on the average*, the units wholly
      present in the postulated kernel gospel are earlier
      than those partially present in the postulated
      kernel gospel and that, in turn, the units partially
      present in the postulated kernel gospel are, *on the
      average*, earlier than those completely absent from
      the postulated kernel gospel, then, if the postulated
      Proto-Thomas is a real document, the expectation is
      that it contains a higher percentage of the units
      wholly in the postulated kernel gospel than of the
      units partially present in the postulated kernel
      gospel and that, in turn, it contains a higher
      percentage of the units partially present in the
      postulated kernel gospel than of the units completely
      absent from the postulated kernel gospel.

      Indeed, this is the case: with the postulated
      Proto-Thomas containing 34/60 (57%) of the units
      wholly present in the postulated kernel gospel, 5/16
      (31%) of the units partially present in the postulated
      kernel gospel, and 4/38 (11%) of the units completely
      absent from the postulated kernel gospel.

      Again, this is an indication that, on the average, the
      sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed
      Proto-Thomas are of significantly earlier origin than
      the sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed later
      additions to this Proto-Thomas--just as one would
      expect if Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      (Note: While I find the evidence for the postulated
      kernel gospel to be weak, I think it likely that there
      was at least one intermediate document between the
      proposed Proto-Thomas and GTh. Further, it is
      possible that such an intermediary document might have
      consisted of the proposed Proto-Thomas plus many of
      the kernel sayings not to be found in the proposed
      Proto-Thomas.)

      CONCLUDING REMARKS

      It can be hypothesised that there was a Proto-Thomas
      document consisting of GTh 2-10, 31-48, 61-65, and
      89-99. There are two basic reasons for thinking that
      this hypothesis is likely to be true. First, the
      postulated Proto-Thomas appears to have an internal
      structure to it. Second, the units assigned to
      Proto-Thomas appear to be, on average, of earlier
      origin than
      the units assigned to the later additions to
      Proto-Thomas.

      This is the first part of a two part posting. The
      second part will regard a possible sitz em leben for
      the writing of Proto-Thomas. It also will include the
      text of Proto-Thomas.

      Any suggestions or comments?

      Regards,

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109






      > goranson@...
      >
      >









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